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Pankaj Advani Profile
- Winner of three world titles in billiards and snooker
- In 2005, became the first player to complete a grand double by winning both the points format as well as the time format titles in the IBSF World Billiards championship
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for 2005
Pankaj Advani is an Indian Billiards and Snooker player, and is considered to be the best Billiards player India has got after Geet Sethi, the maestro. He is the first player ever to have completed a Grand Double in Billiards. He received his education at the Frank Anthony Public School Bangalore, and has been a very brilliant student throughout his career. Afterwards he completed his B.Com. from Mahaveer Jain College, Bangalore.
He was born on the 24th of July at Pune. His parents along with his elder brother, Shree, were settled in Kuwait, and his mother had arrived India just to make sure he was born as an Indian citizen. After spending his initial years at Kuwait, Pankaj along with his family went to U.S. on a trip, when they came to know that Iraqian forces had invaded Kuwait, and the family was forced to come back to India where they settled in Bangalore. Pankaj was just 6 when his father passed away, and his mother single handedly brought the two brothers up.
Introduction to Billiards and Snooker
When Pankaj was 10 years old, he began accompanying his elder brother Shree to a Snooker Parlour and soon proved he was much better at the game than all the older boys out there. Impressed by his talent, the Managing Committee of Karnataka Snooker and Billiards Association (KSBA) gave him the Talent A Membership, that made it much cheaper for him to play as much as he wanted for a monthly sum of Rs. 250/- only. As a result, the little Pankaj would spend as much as 10 hours a day at the Club itself during his vacations, having his lunch, tea everything over there itself.
National Billiards and Snooker
Advani won his first title at the B.S. Sampath Memorial Handicap Tournament in the year 1997 at the age of 12, and ironically he defeated his elder brother Shree in the Final Match. Afterwards, he went on breaking records after records at the State and National levels. The same year, he won the T.A. Selvaraj Memorial Billiards Championship and the Karnataka State Junior Snooker Championship, and won the State Junior title again in the year 1998. Further, he won the Pot Shot All India Triangular Championship and the Pot Shot Non-Medallist Championship in the year 1999. At the age of 15 years Pankaj clinched the Indian Junior Billiards Championship title in 2000, repeating the feat 7 times in a row. In the year 2003 he won the Indian Snooker Championship and won the title for 4 years in a row. Pankaj won the Senior National Billiards Championship in the year 2003 when he was just 17 years old, and has been the youngest Indian ever to have done that. He won the Senior National Snooker Championship in the year 2005 at the age of 19 years, and again is the youngest Indian player to have claimed the title.
International Billiards and Snooker
Pankaj made his debut at the International level when he finished as a finalist at the Asian Billiards Championship 2002, held at Bangalore. He won the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) World Snooker Championship 2003 in China at the age of 18 years. The next year, he lost in the Final Round of the Asian Snooker Championship 2004 held at Jordan.
The Golden Moments
The year 2005 proved to be extremely lucky for Pankaj. First, he finally managed to win the Asian Snooker Championship 2005 title in India. After this, he won the Double World Billiards titles (Both Points and Time Format) in the World Billiards Championship held at Malta. Pankaj Advani created a world record being the first human being ever to have won both the World Billiards titles in the same year. Also, he became the first Indian ever to have claimed 5 Billiard titles in the same year. These titles were Junior National, Senior National, Asian Championship, World Championship (Points) and World Championship (Time).
Further, Pankaj continued his chain of victory by winning the Redbull Team Snooker Championship 2004 held at China, and helping his team win the Indo-Pak Snooker Test Series in 2004 and 2005. He reached the Final Round of the First World Snooker Team Championship 2006, held at San Jose, U.S.A.
He made the country proud by winning the Gold Medal in the Singles Event of English Billiards at Doha Asian Games 2006. Pankaj again claimed the IBSF World Billiards Championship (Time) 2007 held at Singapore, and once again won the Asian Billiards Championship 2008 held at Myanmar. He has been the only person to have won the Asian Billiards title for 3 times. In June 2008, he became the first Indian Billiards player to win the Australian Open Billiards Championship, and went on to win the First 6 Red Snooker Pentangular Team Championship 2008 held at Pakistan. He again won the IBSF World Billiards Championship 2008 held at Bangalore.
Awards and Honors
For his commendable performance as a Billiards and Snooker player, and his invaluable contribution made to the nation through the laurels he brought home through his consistent and skilful efforts, Pankaj Advani has won a host of awards from various Government and Non-Government bodies. These include the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2004, Rajiv Khel Ratna Award in 2006 (the highest award conferred upon a sportsperson in India), the Hero India Sports Award in 2004, Vision of India’s International Indian Award in 2005, Karnataka’s Kempegowda Award in 2007, and Karnataka Government’s Highest Award, the Rajotsav Award in the year 2007.